Kasich says he backs Taylor for governor in ‘18

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he’ll back his lieutenant Mary Taylor for governor in 2018 — if she runs.

“She’s been a good partner,” Kasich said. “We don’t have any declared candidates. So we’ll see how this all goes.”

It is an open-secret that three statewide Republicans are jockeying to run for governor: Taylor, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted. All three cannot seek re-election to their current posts due to term limits.

Taylor, a Republican from Green in Summit County, launched Onward Ohio, a non-profit organization to support her a political ambitions before officially creating a campaign committee. Onward Ohio reported last month that it has a balance of $926,799. DeWine and Husted each reported cash balances of $2.5 million in their campaign accounts.

RELATED: DeWine, Husted each have $2.5 million on hand for 2018 run

Earlier this month, DeWine and Husted declined to disclose their plans for 2018.

Taylor, a former state representative and state auditor, has been Kasich’s lieutenant governor since he took office in January 2011. At the Ohio State Fair in August 2016, Taylor tweeted out a photo of herself holding up a sign at a job fair booth that said “I want to be a … governor.”

RELATED: Mike DeWine confirms run for Ohio governor in 2018

“The lieutenant governor was just having some fun at the fair. That was not an official announcement. She also wants to be the NFL commissioner,” said her spokesman Michael Duchesne.

Kasich’s remarks about supporting Taylor come a week after a leaked memo indicated a rift between the Kasich and Taylor camps. Cleveland area media outlets reported that Kasich’s supporters are upset that Taylor “double crossed” the governor by shifting allegiance to Jane Timken for Ohio GOP chairman over Kasich’s pick, Matt Borges. Timken, who had backing from President Trump, won the job and Borges got swept out.

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